Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty is to meet with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Tuesday to urge her to raise the issue of jailed human rights defenders at her meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Brussels later that day.
“Governments across the world have called for the release of human rights defenders in Turkey. I will press upon Federica Mogherini that she must do the same, and urgently raise the issue with Minister Çavuşoğlu when they meet in Brussels on Tuesday,” said Salil Shetty.
After his meeting with Mogherini, Shetty is expected to join a protest by activists outside the European Council building where Mogherini will meet with Çavuşoğlu.
The partners of two of the jailed activists, Swedish national Ali Gharavi, and German national Peter Steudtner, will be with Shetty to protest the arrest of human rights defenders in Turkey.
“Defending human rights is not a crime, but it is fast becoming one in Turkey. We only have a small window of opportunity to stop this now, before there’s no one left to stand up for what’s right,” added Shelly.
Six human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s (AI) Turkey Director İdil Eser and German human rights consultant Steudtner, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were put in pre-trial detention by an İstanbul court on July 18 on charges of “abetting a terrorist organization.”
Two of four human rights defenders who were previously detained and released earlier this week in İstanbul were detained again on Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt during a press conference on July 8.
Taner Kılıç, a lawyer and chairman of AI’s Turkey’s board, was arrested on June 9, accused of links to the alleged mastermind of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Fethullah Gülen, who has denied any involvement.